China state media giant raises $222 mn in IPO

The website of the Chinese Communist Party's flagship newspaper said Friday it raised 1.4 billion yuan ($222 million) in an initial public offering, nearly three times its first fundraising target.

The People's Daily Online first announced it planned to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in January, at first aiming to raise 527 million yuan -- the first among a slew of government-back news websites wanting to go public.

But this week it almost tripled its fundraising target. And on Friday, the company -- which operates the website of the state People's Daily -- said it sold 69.1 million shares, or a quarter of total its shares, at 20 yuan each.

Based on the sale, the People's Daily Online -- which has not yet announced a date for the its first day of trading -- is worth 5.5 billion yuan.

The firm has previously said it will use the proceeds for expansion into wireless services, the upgrade of technology platforms and the strengthening of its editorial team.

According to a prospectus published this month, the company said its net profit shot up to 139 million yuan last year, more than six times that of 2009.

And in an indication of powerful state backing, domestic telecoms heavyweights such as China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom as well as oil giant Sinopec are among the website's shareholders, the prospectus said.

People.com.cn, the main website operated by the company, was launched in 1997.

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